Hump Day Fare Hacks: August 3, 2016

This week has been an interesting one, but not for the reasons I’d expected. While I had anticipated talking about how Norwegian fares remained consistent (they did) and that certain transpacific route prices fell (they did), what I didn’t expect was to have Emirates and Etihad comprising three of the 10 positions in this week’s list of deals. Both carriers are known for charging a premium for their services, and rightly so, but I hadn’t expected to find them listing intercontinental flights for less than $1,000. And while I wouldn’t advise impulsively buying a flight to the Middle East (or anywhere, for that matter), I will say that — particularly in Emirates’ case — you should book sooner rather than later if you have the desire to capitalize on these incredible fares.

With that said, there are still some great fares on carriers outside of the UAE. BOS-FRA on Lufthansa for less than $600 and EWR-AMS on United for less than $500 are certainly well below the normal prices for those routes, and I would say that both are very good value for your money. More surprisingly, Cathay Pacific’s flights between New York and Hong Kong have stayed below $600, although I still maintain that they will rise significantly in due course. Regardless, I can’t say that I don’t enjoy seeing such an incredible deal on a five-star airline stick around, and I might even consider going to Hong Kong at some point in the (very far off) future if it does.

Note: All routes profiled are based on a 7-day round trip (departing and arriving the same day a week apart), unless otherwise noted. That said, I strongly encourage you to play with a variety of dates and trip lengths and see what you can find.

 

BOSTON

 

Boston – Beijing

Leave on:

  • September 6-8, 10-15, 17-23, 26-30
  • October 1-5, 10-31
  • Any date in November
  • December 1-10

Carrier: Hainan Airlines
Price: $658

Thoughts: Yes, we’ve seen this one before. Yes, I’m still bitter that BOS-PEK is going for a dollar cheaper than I was able to buy it for (not really). However, I cannot, cannot, cannot reiterate how much of a steal a direct transpacific flight for less than $1,000 on a five-star airline is, not to mention less than $700, and the fact that this fare is bookable for dates just over a month away is even more rare. Get it while it’s here, because my guess is that this fare won’t last for long (although I’ve already been proven wrong on that front).

 

Boston – Dubai

Leave on:

  • Any date in September
  • Any date in October
  • Any date in November
  • December 1-8

Carrier: Emirates
Price: $698

Thoughts: Currently ranked number one in the world by SKYTRAX, Emirates is known for two things: a luxurious experience and extremely high prices — like, $1,500+ for a round trip in economy. Now, however, the carrier is having a fare sale which ends tomorrow, August 4, in which prices on long-haul routes have been slashed by more than 50%. Additionally, Emirates has two flights per day each way between Boston and Dubai on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, so you’ll be riding in one of the newest, most modern aircraft in the skies today.

 

Boston – Frankfurt

Leave on:

  • November 1-13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26-30
  • December 1-13

Carrier: Lufthansa
Price: $521

Thoughts: Given that Lufthansa 747s are commonly seen in the skies around Boston, I’m still perplexed that Google Flights is showing Lufthansa not having nonstop options for this route on a few dates. However, given that this price is the lowest that I’ve seen for BOS-FRA, period, and the fact that it’s on Lufthansa makes it even more valuable.

 

Boston – London Gatwick

Leave on:

  • October 30, 31
  • November 14
  • January (2017) 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27
  • March (2017) 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 15, 17

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $340

Thoughts: In addition to being consistently in the $330-$350 range, this route has an excellent example of the “narrowing” of date ranges as time goes on. Last week, there were three dates in November that went for the lowest fare. This week, there is just one. Likewise, December’s low-fare date has disappeared. Regardless, there are still a number of dates on which you can take advantage of this fare. And while I wouldn’t expect the lowest common fare to simply shoot up to, say, $800, it is clear that timing is crucial when finding good fares on Norwegian.

 

 

Boston – Oslo

Leave on:

  • September 26, 30 (return October 4, October 8)

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $269

Thoughts: $269 for a transatlantic round trip. Let that sink in.

 

NEW YORK

 

New York JFK – Abu Dhabi

Leave on:

  • September 6-8, 12, 14, 15, 19-22, 26-29
  • October 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 31
  • November 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-30
  • December 1
  • January (2017) 19, 23-25, 30, 31
  • February (2017) 1, 2, 6-9, 13-16, 21-23, 27, 28
  • March (2017) 1, 2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27, 30
  • April (2017) 3, 5, 6, 10-13, 17-19, 24-27
  • May (2017) 1, 3, 4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-31
  • June (2017) 1, 5-8

Carrier: Etihad
Price: $836

Thoughts: A very, very good price, especially considering the route and the carrier — and that’s not even mentioning the range of dates available (probably the most extensive I’ve seen yet). Ranked sixth in the world by SKYTRAX, Etihad is known for having a three-room suite, dubbed “The Residence,” on its Airbus A380 aircraft that goes for well north of $30,000 one way. That said, its economy product is among the best in the industry, and is well worth the $836 that you’d pay for a flight of this length.

 

Newark – Amsterdam

Leave on:

  • November 1-7, 9-18, 21, 22, 24-30
  • December 1-8, 10, 11, 14

Carrier: United Airlines
Price: $462

Thoughts: As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there are a number of fares that I profile that are seen regularly simply because they’re cheap (looking at you, Norwegian) and I want to expose them to people who wouldn’t know about them otherwise. This, however, is simply an excellent fare on an otherwise expensive route. Prices for Amsterdam flights tend to run higher than what you generally see for round trips between the U.S. and Europe. And while I found $506 for JFK-AMS on KLM recently, I didn’t expect to find a sub-$500 direct flight to Amsterdam, even if from EWR. I anticipate that Amsterdam is one of the more popular destinations for many New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, so I’d get moving on this one rather quickly.

 

New York JFK – Dubai

Leave on:

  • Any date in September
  • Any date in October
  • Any date in November
  • December 1-8

Carrier: Emirates
Price: $698

Thoughts: Pretty much all of the same applies to what was said under the BOS-DXB listing, except that Emirates operates the A380 between New York and Dubai. So, if you’ve ever wanted to experience economy-class luxury on a double-decker, this may well be the time to do it. Just remember — this fare sale ends tomorrow, August 4.

 

New York JFK and Newark – Hong Kong

Leave on:

  • October 24-27, 31
  • November 1, 2, 8, 15, 17, 22-24, 28-30
  • December 1, 5-7

Carrier: Cathay Pacific
Price: $554

Thoughts: Really not sure when the jig will be up and the prices rise astronomically, especially considering it’s Cathay Pacific, fourth in SKYTRAX’s 2016 rankings and a five-star carrier to boot.

 

New York JFK – Stockholm

Leave on:

  • January (2017) 16, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 28, 30
  • February (2017) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 20, 25, 27

Carrier: Norwegian Air Shuttle
Price: $280

Thoughts: Even if it’s $2 up from last week, I don’t think I need to start the “transatlantic flights for less than $300 are insanely cheap” speech again.